Quinoa Sweet Potato Burgers

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

There’s a small, organic, all-natural food market near my house. Once you sift past the tall aisles filled with pricey protein powder and every vitamin known to mankind, you’ll find a humble food bar in the very back. They sell a range of prepared foods that are all remarkably healthy and tasty. Split pea soup, mushroom quesadillas, strawberry walnut & baby spinach salad, curried quinoa and chickpeas. I’ve tried it all. The next thing is better than the last. My go-to item on the menu is the black bean and sweet potato burger. I’m a carnivore by nature but there are days I just want to skip it. It’s one o’clock at the office and I’m craving something that satisfies, without the heavy regret that usually follows. This burger does the trick: meaty black beans and a sweet potato binder that fill you up in a really good way. You might even lose that three o’clock sugar craving.

In a similar way, this Bon Appetite recipe dubbed the “Stellar Quinoa Burger,” is a lunch game-changer! A chance to make killer meatless burgers at home? Done and done. Topped with a healthy dollop of guacamole atop a toasted english muffin, this burger is a serious rival to its beef counterpart. So much lighter and much less guilt than greasy beef. Rainbow quinoa, zucchini, mushroom and sweet potato come together in a truly colorful, wholesome way. I doubled the recipe and I’ll be enjoying happy desk lunches all week!

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Yield: 4 burgers

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 portobello mushroom
  • ½ small zucchini
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (from about ½ uncooked)
  • ¾ cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 English muffins, split, toasted
  • Guacamole for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prick sweet potato all over with a fork; rub with 1 Tbsp. oil, then season with salt and pepper. Roast directly on oven rack until tender, 30–45 minutes. Let cool. Remove and discard skin; mash flesh with a fork. Set aside.

  2. Remove stem from mushroom; discard. Pulse cap in a food processor until finely chopped. Coarsely grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater; gather up in a kitchen towel and squeeze out excess liquid.

  3. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over low. Cook shallot and red pepper flakes, stirring often, until shallot is soft, about 2 minutes. Add mushroom and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to release their liquid but have not taken on any color, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; mix in quinoa and season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

  4. Add breadcrumbs, lemon juice, and about ¼ cup reserved mashed sweet potato to quinoa mixture and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. If mixture is too loose, add more sweet potato to bind.

  5. Divide mixture into 4 portions and form into patties, pressing firmly together with your hands. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over medium and cook 2 patties until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side; season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and 2 patties.

  6. Build burgers with patties, toasted English muffins, guacamole, tomato chutney, and sprouts. Do Ahead: Patties can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine (Cafe Pasqual’s, Santa Fe, NM)

 

Classic Chocolate Brownies

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

You know that glossy, flaky top coat that magically appears on the surface of boxed brownie mix? I’ve been trying to replicate that effect in homemade brownies for years with little success. Recipes I’ve tried in the past are either too fudgy (yes, it’s possible) or too cakey and dense. I want that *perfect* brownie: decadent chew and that shiny top that flakes when you bite into it. Too much to ask for? Was it the dairy? The flour-to-egg ratio? I had no idea. Then suddenly it happened. The heavens opened up and Food.com asked me to photograph this recipe. The hunt is over. I kid you not, these are quickly becoming my new go-to! I adjusted a few small things and sure enough it hits all the right marks. The fudge factor is right on. A+, brownies. Bravo. Well done.

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Yield: 28 brownies

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup melted butter, cooled
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9″x13″ pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick spray.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in cocoa powder. Remove from heat and pour mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer.
  3. Add in sugar and vanilla until combined. Add eggs one at a time and beat. Mix in dry ingredients until fully combined. Be careful not to overmix. Fold in chocolate chips. Use a spatula to scrape all of that goodness into the lined pan.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and cut into 2×2″ squares.
  5. Store in an air-tight container.

Recipe adapted from Food.com.

Chestnut Fettuccine and Tortellini in Sage Cream Sauce

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Happy Sunday, all! A little encouragement, from one friend to another:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Isaiah 43:2

The new year has me thinking a lot about my future and my family’s future. My husband is in medical school. A lot of our future is unknown. Just last week, I took a shot at something new in my life. I wanted so badly to believe it was meant to be and that I deserved it. When everything fell silent, I had thoughts like “this isn’t fair!” and “doesn’t God want me to be happy?” While God does want to bless us to overflowing, I didn’t have the right attitude in that moment. His plan is abundantly better that ours. He sees things that we can’t see yet. I’m believing that if this wasn’t the right thing, He has something else in store that is 100x better!

In my frustration during the last week, I opened up my Bible on Friday morning and read this about how Jesus calmed a raging storm (Luke 22:8-25):

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, weʼre going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

 

I thought to myself: Were the disciples crazy? There they are, with Jesus right there beside them. How could they have been afraid? How could they have doubted for one second that he would protect them and bring peace to the situation?

It hit me like a brick, and I cried. That boat is my life. I’m in the boat. Jesus is also in the boat, right there along side me. Through all of my frustration, my anger, the chaos around me– Jesus is there. He has always been there. Where was my faith? How could I have doubted for one second that He was in complete control? I had forgotten about simple faith. I was choosing anger instead of trusting Him wholeheardetly. In our weakness, God is strongest. Emotionally, I collapsed and humbly spoke out: “you’ve always been there.”

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He’s right beside us, ready to calm the storm if we only trust him. Have child-like faith. He’s in control and will never let you drown. No fear, no doubt. This is going to be a great year.

#NOODLEHOLICSPARTY!

I’m so excited to be sharing this recipe as a part of Soe @limeandcilantro’s #Noodleholicsparty! Head over to Instagram and check out our virtual noodle feast.

Around holiday time, my grandfather always brings a bagful of chestnuts with him. He brings his own pan for roasting, weathered and blackish-brown with age. A family tradition, we score the chestnuts, toss in a pan and roast at 425F for 45 mins to an hour. They come out sizzling and hot. We burn our fingers in impatience as we peel and eat. Inside, the chestnut flesh is tender and sweet.

In honor of our tradition, I used chestnut flour and chestnut puree to make pasta, two ways: fettuccine and tortellini filled with ricotta cheese and chestnut puree. I tossed both in a sage cream sauce. For me, this is ultimate comfort on a chilly night. The act of passing sheets of homemade pasta through the fettuccine attachment is THE most soothing thing for me.

I decided to toss it in a butter, sage, shallot, cream, white wine sauce. Well, because… these are a few of my favorite things!

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Chestnut Fettuccine and Tortellini in Sage Cream Sauce

Makes about 20 tortellini and 1 lb fettuccine

Pasta Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur) plus extra for dusting
  • 1 cup chestnut flour (You can find it at specialty Italian grocery stores)
  • 34 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 34 cup ricotta
  • 14 cup unsweetened chestnut purée*
  • 12 tsp. salt
  • 2 pinches ground nutmeg

Sage Cream Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage or crumbled dried leaves
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

*chestnuts are naturally pretty sweet. Adjust the puree to your liking.

  1. To make the pasta, in the bowl of your stand mixer add the all-purpose flour, chestnut flour, and salt. Stir to combine. Form a well in the center and add the eggs and egg yolks. Begin to stir on low, gradually picking up speed to medium until the dough forms. It will be crumbly and thick.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and incorporate any crumbs from the bowl. Knead until the ball of dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Dusting lightly with more flour as needed. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
  3. To make the filling, in a food processor add the ricotta, chestnut purée, salt, and nutmeg. Process until smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container up to 1 day. You will have filling left over, if you decide to also make the fettuccine.
  4. To make tortellini, set a small bowl of water next to your workstation. Slice the chilled dough into 5 pieces. Flour lightly. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the others refrigerated. Save 2 of the 5 pieces for fettuccine, if making. The dough will be thick, so roll out the first piece of dough into a small 1/2″ rectangle by hand with a rolling pin. Using a pasta sheet attachment, pass through the sheet roller on the 1, 3, and 5 settings until you have a nice thin sheet. (If it’s crumbling at first, keep folding and passing through until it holds together). Cut out rounds using a 2-inch cookie cutter. Working one round at a time, place 1teaspoon of filling in the center. Very lightly wet the rim of the round with water, then fold the ends over the filling to meet and form a half-moon shape. Press together firmly to seal. Lightly wet both of the pointed tips, then fold them together to meet and form a ring. Set on a lightly floured baking sheet and repeat with the remaining rounds and pieces of dough. (If not using that day, you can freeze the tortellini on the baking sheet; once frozen, store in resealable plastic bags or containers. Boil from frozen.)
  5. Using the same method, roll your thin sheets of dough through the fettuccine attachment. Be sure to flour so they don’t stick together.
  6. In a pot of boiling, salted water, add the pasta. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta floats to the top, about 4 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and transfer to a large serving bowl.
  7. To make the sauce, melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sage. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and cream. Turn heat to med-high and reduce until thickened, about 5 minutes. Lower heat and stir in parmesan cheese. Taste and season carefully with salt and pepper. Parmesan is already a little salty.
  8. Toss pasta in sauce and coat well. Serve warm.

Pasta recipe adapted from Saveur Magazine.

Take a look at what our other fun partygoers have contributed:

Pho Ga (Vietnamese chicken noodle soup) by @beyondsweetandsavory
Alfredo Pasta by @mylavenderblues
Beef Ragu with Pappardelle by @cloudykitchen
Malaysian Laksa with Pumpkin by @vermilionroots
Vegetarian Tteokbokki by @husbandsthatcook
Shrimp Scampi with Tagliatelle by @upcloseandtasty
Vegan Jjajangmyeon by @the.korean.vegan
Duck Noodle Soup by @lindsaysfeast
Kuching Style Laksa by @passmethedimsum
Meatball Pasta by @insearchofwonders
Shanghai Onion Oil Noodles by @omnivorescookbook
Oak-Smoked Pasta Cacio e Pepe by @harvest_and_honey
Aceh Noodles (Mie Aceh) by @whattocooktoday

Persian Noodle (Reshteh) by @noghlemey

Thanks so much to Soe @limeandcilantro for setting up this fun virtual #noodleholicsparty! Be sure to check out the recipes from all the talented blogger partygoers on Instagram by searching #noodleholicsparty.

Parsley Pesto

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

I feel like a million bucks!

I decided I need to start drinking more water this year. I’ve known for a long time I’ve been dehydrated. This time of year last winter, my skin felt like a shriveled up prune. I would go at least 8 hours without drinking more than a 16 oz water bottle. I’m terrible at remembering to drink during the day. So I thought to myself: there must be an app for that.

I downloaded the My Water app (get it here) and I’ve been going 5 day strong! The app works in conjunction with Apple Health, taking your age and weight into account. It gives you a goal amount of fluid ounces for each day. Most agree you should drink half your body weight in ounces per day. The app keeps track of how much you’ve had and reminds you when to stop and take some gulps. I’m so proud of myself! I notice already that I have more energy and I’m not as fatigued during the day. Way to go, H20.

Over the weekend I made this killer pesto recipe for Food.com. The original recipe is for vegan pesto. I threw in a little parmesan/pecorino blend because I adore cheese. But, cheese aside,  this recipe holds its own. I picked up this pretty imported bow tie pasta from a local Italian shop. I am in love with the bold, garlic-y, nutty flavor and texture of pesto. If you’ve got some sad looking herbs in your refrigerator, break out the food processor! Vegans, rejoice!

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Yield: 2 cups pesto

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 garlic gloves
  • 3 cups fresh parsley (or basil)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt*
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil

*if you’re going to add in parmesan or pecorino cheese, omit the salt. These cheeses are salty enough on their own, for my taste.

  1. In a small saucepan, toast pine nuts over medium-low heat until slightly brown. Toss around in pan to get even coloring.
  2. In food processor, add pine nuts, herbs, salt and pepper and blend well.  Slowly drizzle in oil and pulse until smooth. Add more olive oil if needed.
  3. Toss well with your favorite pasta. Choose one like bow ties with little pockets to hold all that good pesto. Also enjoy spread over crispy crostini or eggs!
  4. If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator with a little olive oil over the top to keep from browning.

Recipe adapted from Food.com

Stuffed Mushrooms

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

These are a staple on my family’s table. Mushrooms have that wonderful earthy, deep flavor. Organic white caps are perfect for stuffing. I love a good drizzle of olive oil and a light stuff with cheese, breadcrumbs and fresh herbs. The more cheese, the merrier. Roasted nice and long so that the cheese and crumbs become crispy and golden brown. You can’t have just one.

When it comes to stuffed mushrooms, I like to keep it simple. I’m not into stuffing with crab or extra fluff. Let the mushroom shine. They’ll steal the show.

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Servings: 24 mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 24 large mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (I prefer a 50% parmesan, 50% pecorino blend)
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella for topping
  1. Clean mushrooms under running water to remove all dirt. Carefully remove stems from mushrooms and chop stems.
  2. In a medium skillet, melt butter and add garlic. Add chopped mushroom stems and saute until lightly brown. Add parsley stir, and remove from heat.
  3. Add cheese and stir to combine. Add bread crumbs, stirring until mixture is crumbly.
  4. Lightly fill each mushroom cap with the sauteed mixture, but don’t pack too tightly.
  5. Set on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 400F degrees for about 24 minutes (if they’re smaller caps, check them after 20 minutes).

Recipe adapted from Food.com